by crossriverwatch admin
A civil society organisation and child’s rights group in Cross River, Basic Rights Counsel Initiative has demanded the sack of the Cross River State Commissioner for Social Welfare and Community Development, Mrs. Patricia Endeley for negligence of her duty.
In a petition signed by James Ibor, Esq to the Executive Governor of the State, Senator Liyel Imoke dated March 25, 2013 with reference number BRC/CAL/GOV-CRS/VOL. 8/ 026/2013, the group said “On Friday 8th March 2013, with the assistance of the Police, we rescued two children, Elisha John Akpan and Esther John Akpan from a room at Akpandem where they were locked up for over three days with neither food nor water by their father Mr. Friday John Akpan who branded them witches.
“We have facilitated the treatment of the children and they are due to be discharged to a facility they can call home, since no relation is willing to take up the responsibility of protecting them. Sir, we have written to Barr.
Patricia Endeley and visited the Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Development which is mandated by the Child Rights Law to take up the responsibility of returning humanity to these kids, but Barr. Patricia through her Director Child, has informed us that – there is no space anywhere and there is nothing they can do”.
The group which has being at the forefront of rescuing stranded children in the state said, this was not the first time the commissioner was giving them that response.
“Your Excellency, this response is consistent with many requests we have made to Barrister Endeley in her office as Commissioner of the Ministry of Social Welfare and Community Development.
“We demand for her replacement as she has frustrated every effort towards the appropriate implementation of the Child Rights Law. We have also attached herewith several letters written to her to take responsibility, which she failed to respond favourably to.
“Your Excellency Sir, we may be compelled to mobilize our volunteers for a peaceful march round the streets of Calabar, if our request is not treated with dispatch. We believe in your commitment to make Cross River State, a State fit for the child”.
The Cross River State of Nigeria, Child Rights Law, 2009, section 175 (1) (3), states aptly thus; “The state shall provide accommodation for a child in need within the state who appears to it require accommodation where: (a) There is no person having parental responsibility for the child; or (b) The child is lost or has been abandoned or runs away from home; and
The person who has care for the child is prevented for any reason whatever, from providing the child with accommodation or care;
(3) The state shall provide accommodation for a child within the state.
Whose welfare the appropriate authority considers in likely to be seriously prejudiced if the state does not provide the child with accommodation…”
S. 176 (1) “The state shall make provision for the reception and accommodation of children who are removed or kept away from home”.
Section 274 which is the interpretation section defines commissioner to mean a person charged with the responsibility for matters relating to children in the state.
And the Commissioner for social welfare is the person saddled with the responsibility of providing direct support to children.
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